Police officers arrived at Jeffery Ryans’s house in April in Salt Lake City, Utah, after they responded to a call made by someone who said they had heard him arguing with his wife, according to the Daily Mail.
Mr Ryans is facing charges of domestic violence, as his wife filed a protective order against him in December 2019, but the 36-year-old said he had been staying at the house for weeks after his wife had asked for the order to be lifted.
Body cam footage, that was released by authorities on Tuesday, showed officers arrive at Mr Ryans house while he was smoking as he got ready to leave for his job as an engineer.
The 36-year-old, who was dressed in a white vest and dark trousers, was visibly startled by the officers’ arrival, and one of them shouted at him: “Get on the ground or you’re going to get bit.”
A dog was heard barking as Mr Ryans responded to the officers and told them: “I’m just going to work” while they shone torches into his eyes.
The officers then rushed into Mr Ryans’s back garden, as one of them claimed that he was trying to escape by climbing over the fence.
After being asked to get on the floor, the 36-year-old knelt down and put his hands in the air, but the officers kept threatening to have the dog bite him if he did not comply.
Although the footage showed that Mr Ryans complied with their order, the officers ordered the dog, named Tuco, to attack him.
They told Tuco to “hit” Mr Ryans and the dog attacked his leg, as he asked the officers to “stop” and shouted: “I’m on the ground, why are you biting me?”
The officers then appeared to encourage the dog to continue, and Tuco bit Mr Ryans again, who screamed out in pain.
They praised the dog and said “good boy” repeatedly as Mr Ryans shouted: “Why are you doing this?” and asked: “What did I do?”
One of the officers called the dog a “good boy” again after it was ordered to stop attacking Mr Ryans, as they handcuffed him and called for a medic for a “dog bite to the leg.”
The officer who called for a medic then told Mr Ryans: “Bro, you’re listening great now, you weren’t listening great a minute ago.”
Mr Ryans told the Salt Lake Tribune that he had to have multiple surgeries to treat his injury and lost his job as he could not work for some time.
He added that during the arrest, he “wasn’t fighting. I was just cooperating. We’ve been through this. We’ve seen this. Always cooperate with the police, no matter what.”
The 36-year-old has filed a lawsuit against the Salt Lake City Police Department, and his attorneys Daniel Garner and Gabriel White have alleged that the officers used an unnecessary level of force.
Mr White told the Tribune that the incident occurred because his client is black, and added: “What’s different between the two of us that could make this happen to him, but I couldn’t imagine happening to me? No one’s ever shown up at my house.”
Although the incident occurred in April, Mr Ryans told the Tribune that he wanted to talk about it now, after witnessing Black Lives Matter protests in the last couple of months in opposition to police brutality and racial inequality.
“Everybody matters, but you can’t just treat people differently because of their religion or their skin colour. I developed myself to get to where I’m at right now. I should have the same respect as others. We don’t get it.”
The Salt Lake City Police Department told the Tribune: “As there is pending litigation, we are unable to discuss specifics of the case.
“Although this incident occurred in April there was never an Internal Affairs complaint filed, when we became aware of the situation this morning, an Internal Affairs investigation was immediately launched by our department to determine if the use of force was within policy.”
The department added: “That investigation will consider the totality of the events that occurred that night. As with every complaint regarding use of force The Salt Lake City Civilian Review Board has the opportunity to conduct their own separate investigation.”
On Tuesday, Salt Lake City mayor Erin Mendenhall urged the city’s police chief, Mike Brown, to investigate the incident with “urgency” and asked him to be “as transparent as possible with the public.”
Join our new commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies